But what really made them great? I knew that in each case, they encouraged me to learn even when I didn’t want to learn; they acknowledged and made me feel special, even, if they thought that I was a challenge. As I look back over my life, the teacher may not have been the easiest teacher but they found something deep within, planted a seed and fostered growth.
I just want to acknowledge a small group of my teachers who made a difference in my life:
Mrs. Rosette Wells – My Grade 1 teacher at Ridgeland Primary School. She was an EXCELLENT TEACHER. I still get excited to see her. (She has now retired to Cat Island and I am sure made a difference there);
Ms. Garnell Burrows – my Grade 6 teacher at St. Thomas More Catholic Primary (I was the challenged student in the class and she volunteered to tutor me, so that I would not be left behind.);
Mrs. Judith Adderley – my Grade 7 Math Teacher (The HARDEST TEACHER IN THE WORLD) I didn’t like math and she didn’t care, you had to learn in her class;
Mrs. Roxanne Chipman – My Reading Specialist from Grade 7 (I think I did move a few levels up in reading)
Ms. Sharon Poitier – My 11th Grade Social Studies Teacher (Don’t let her looks fool you, she was your friend but don’t appreciate students wasting time in her class. If you did, it was all over. I got a greater appreciation for history from her class.)
Mrs. Eva Douglas-Sands – My 11th Grade Literature Teacher ( Why did we have to take this subject is beyond me and Mrs. Douglas-Sands was a rough teacher but behind the roughness was a caring teacher.)
Mrs. Zoie Miller-Powell – My high school Guidance Counselor (Counselors have an opportunity to change a life; I knew that I was one of her most challenging cases. I was broken, I lack self-esteem, I was angry of the fact that I had to attend a public school, I had ISSUES. You can truly say that I was wearing a mask and she was able to help rebuild a broken child);
Mr. Charles “Chuck” Mackey – My high school Senior Master (He was able to get me into R. M. Bailey at the last minute and took an interest in my welfare. Although I think he was disappointed that I was not an athlete, seeing that my father was a BIG sports fan);
It is truly amazing because not all GOOD TEACHERS are in the classroom. During the 1983/84 school year, I had an opportunity to be apart of Junior Achievement, a 26 week business training program. I had the good fortune to have been selected for a company sponsored by Resorts Internationals, Paradise Island. There were three individuals who were business executives at Resorts but on a weekly basis came to R. M. Bailey Senior High School for two - three hours to expose about 20 students to some business practices. I am grateful to Mr. Rudy Gardiner, Mrs. Andrea Major and Mrs. Cynthia Carter-Sealy. Thanks for the sacrifices that you made on my behalf.
When I went to college there were five professors who expected more, tolerated less and had an UNFAIR view (My opinion at the time) of what I was supposed to be achieving. These five educators can take credit for me graduating from Bethune-Cookman with a degree in Psychology with Honors. Although, I didn’t really appreciate how hard they were on me then, they made a difference in my life – Thanks to Dr. Ann Taylor, Dr. Yvonne Mahy, Dr. Mary Alice Smith, Dr. Jose Hernandez and Ms. Joan Thompson. (Thanks to Dr. Ann Taylor and Ms. Joan Thompson, I can say that I received a 3.83 during my first semester in my Freshman Year and was prepared for my latter years at BCC).
Can you imagine, a child who repeated the eighth grade, flunked out of his private school in the tenth grade, graduated from a public school, not as a honor roll student but with grades good enough to get into college, could graduate from college as an honor student?
So, you see… Good Teacher makes a difference in their student’s life.